I spoke with a friend yesterday about the role of her manager in her job. He's an advocate for her and a buffer. The buffer part was what struck me. He's a buffer between my friend and senior management. Sadly, senior management in this organization is living in an alternative reality, so they need someone who is deft at translating this reality into real world application. This happens a lot in the corporate world.
This post is not a defense of the middle-manager, nor is it a rant about how bad they sometimes can be. In the spirit of balance I want you to consider 7 things your manager wants you to know:
- Your manager is afraid. In many ways this makes them like everybody else, with one huge exception. Your manager has power and influence over the work of human beings.
- Your manager thought they wanted the job when it was offered. Many managers are conflicted. The organization dressed everything up well, put on the nicest face, but decided to let themselves go after the honeymoon. Now your manager sees themselves as stuck.
- Your manager wants to do the right thing. She realizes she can't please everyone. She knows that making a decsion swiftly and resolutely is sometimes needed, even if you don't see it or understand it.
- Your manager wants ongoing learning and growth. But it's very difficult when profit tries to push an unseen opportunity out the door. Or worse, the organization doesn't care about learning and growth.
- Your manager has been a bully all their life and has no intention of stopping. Unless, of course, someone decides to push back. He believes the organization is weak for not putting a halt to his behavior.
- Your manager is intimidated by people who are smarter and wiser. They see vulnerability (being ok with not being the crown jewel in the room) as something to be avoided.
- Your manager feels like their life is ebbing away. The other parts of life are demanding much from her, just like the organization. In many ways she wonders where is the life she dreamed of.